O’Rourke records keynote win en route to Strandja finals.

Tokyo Olympian and Paris-qualified boxer, 75kg Aoife O’Rourke, has won through to the finals of the 75th Strandja Memorial Tournament, after an epic battle.

Aoife boxed Qian Li of China in Bout 6 of Ring B’s Afternoon Session. Qian Li is the reigning Asian Games middleweight champion, and a Tokyo silver medalist and Rio bronze medalist at the weight, and has won World 75kg gold, silver and bronze since 2014. Aoife put in a high tempo, high power display and dug deep in all three rounds, claiming her place in the final by virtue of a 5-0 victory. Judges scored the bout 28:29; 27:30; 28:29; 28:29; 28:29.

Paris-qualified heavyweight, Jack Marley, after besting Uzbekistan’s Madiyar Saydrakhimov in his quarter final, took on Greece’s Vagkan Nanitzanian in Bout 6 of Ring A’s evening session. These boxers last met in the European Games Round of 16, when Jack came away with a 4-1 win, eventually leading to his qualification for Paris 2024. This was a testy and robust semi-final, with both boxers going toe-to-toe. In the first 30 seconds of the 3rd round, Nanitzanian caught the Team Ireland boxer with a left hook just over the ear. This resulted in the referee ending the bout by KO.


Aoife will meet Thailand’s Baison Manikon in bout 4 of Ring A’s Afternoon session. A Tokyo Olympian at welterweight, the southpaw is the reigning Asian U22 champion. Most recently, she contested the Asian Games against eventual winner, Lovlina Boroghain, whom Aoife bested at the Quarter Final stage of this tournament.

The session begins at midday, Irish time.


261 boxers from 28 federations are contesting the tournament, hosted in Sofia by the Bulgarian Boxing Federation. Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tukey, Turkey and Uzbekistan have all fielded teams.


The Bulgarian Boxing Federation is streaming the tournament on its YouTube Channel – links, per ring and session, become available on the day of boxing. The afternoon session begins at 12pm, Irish time, and the evening session at 2.30pm, Irish time.

Today was a special day in Sofia for another reason – superheavy, Martin McDonagh, contesting his first tournament of Strandja’s standard, turned 21:


50kg Shannon Sweeney, St. Anne’s BC, Mayo*

54kg Niamh Fay, Phoenix of Ballyboughal BC, Dublin

57kg Michaela Walsh, Holy Family GG, Belfast

66kg Lisa O’Rourke, Castlerea BC, Roscommon

75kg Aoife O’Rourke, Castlerea BC, Roscommon

51kg Rickey Nesbitt, Holy Family BC, Drogheda

57kg Adam Hession, Monivea BC, Galway

63.5kg Dean Clancy, Sean McDermott BC, Leitrim

71kg Eugene McKeever, Holy Family, Drogheda

92kg Jack Marley, Monkstown BC, Dublin

92+kg Martin McDonagh, Crumlin, Dublin.

Draws are available here

Day One: Team Ireland didn’t box.

Day Two results are here

Day Three results are here

Day Four results are here

Day Five results are here

Session 23A results

Session 24B results

Session 25A results

Session 26B results